They commit acts of evil. They kill and torture. Why? Not for fun
, not for profit
, not because they hold a grudge against their victims. Instead, their very existence and survival depends on it. Maybe they actually need to eat some specific food like vampires, maybe they feed on your pain, maybe some supernatural curse demands human sacrifices
from them in exchange for sparing their life.
This, similar to introducing Always Chaotic Evil
people, is an easy way to create conflict that can only be resolved with violence, as you can't negotiate with someone or something who needs to kill you to survive.
A Hungry Menace
may be portrayed in different ways — from the horrible abomination that must be slain for the good of everyone to a Non-Malicious Monster
or even a natural part of the universe that is not evil at all.
If such a being kills and tortures to extend his life beyond its natural span, it's Immortality Immorality
. It is close, but different as it present not doing amoral things and dying as the natural and only good solution for this problem, while this trope is more ambiguous. See also; Horror Hunger
, Face Monster Turn
and Phlebotinum Muncher
. For a typical hero response, see Guilt-Free Extermination War
Anime and Manga
- Bleach has Hollows, the hate-filled souls that survive by either eating other souls or, should they be advanced enough, cannibalizing other Hollows. It's only passed this trope if the Hollows keep personalities (take Shrieker, who used a boy's soul to hunt those he was owned by. Long story). So far, the Arrancars' diets are unknown, but all the ones with their past revealed when they were hollows ate others. It could be inferred that Ulquiorra survived off absorbing the spirit-filled particles in the air since he didn't have a mouth, but hey.
- While he might not hold any malice towards his victims and supposedly serves a few "necessary functions" within the universe, none of that changes the fact that Galactus, Devourer of Worlds has a nigh-countless number of genocides to his name.
- Played with regarding zombies in Survival of the Dead.
- The eoponymous monster of The Blob (1958). It oozes around to feed itself, and as it grows, so does its hunger.
- The Gyaos in the Gamera films survive by feeding on human flesh.
- This is subverted with Irys. We discover early-on in the film that it has a horrific way of feeding (ie. using the claws on its arms to impale and then drain the life-force of other creatures), but, its main goal is really to merge with Ayana so it can kill Gamera allowing the Gyaos to devour all of humanity.
- Baragon from the Godzilla films, as depicted in Frankenstein Conquers The World.
- The aliens in The Deadly Spawn are driven by hunger, and hunger alone.
- The cannibal killer in The Forest (1982) is a crazy hermit who refuses to leave the cave he lives in, and hunts everything he can to feed himself.
- The villain in CM Kornbluth's short story "The Mindworm".
- In the book World War Z, zombies eat any flesh, as long as it's living or almost fresh.
- Fringe had a Monster of the Week who harvested prostitutes for hormones which will stall his improbably rapid aging.
- Bainlings from Legend of the Seeker made a deal with the Big Bad and had to kill people or they will be dragged back into afterlife.
- In Stargate Atlantis, Wraith can only eat humans or other Wraith, or they will starve to death.
- The Energy Beings in the Star Trek: The Original Series episodes "Day of the Dove", "Obsession", and "Wolf in the Fold."
- The X-Files:
- Eugene Tooms from two episodes "Squeeze" and "Tooms" needs human livers to survive a long cycle of his hybernation.
- Incanto aka 2Shy was a monster who needed human fat.
- Rob Robertson from a later X-Files episode needed brains... not that he didn't try to live as a non-mutant.
- The bone-eating monster in the Farscape episode "Bone to be Wild" is actually friendly, just very very hungry.
- The Horrors in Shadowrun and Earthdawn.
- Dungeons & Dragons
- The Darkhood monster in the Mystara setting.
- The Nightmare Court in the Ravenloft setting's Nightmare Lands.
- Possibly the Tarrasque. While it is possibly the most feared and lethal beasts in the entire setting, it seems pretty much mindless, and is driven by hunger... probably. Fortunately, it spends most of its time sleeping, only waking up every five to six months or so, devouring everything in sight for a week when it does. One source suggested that in their default state, tarrasque are far more discriminating, but unfortunately most atmospheres has something they react adversely to (or lacks something vital to stop the reaction), hence mindless hunger as opposed to mere animalistic hunger.
- Illithid must consume brains or the equivalent to survive, and reproduce via parasitic transformation of captured humanoids. Individual mind flayers can survive on animals, but the smarter, stronger-willed the mind of the consumed brain was, the more nourishing it is, so an illithid that has consumed an average human brain can go for a while without feeding again, while someone that goes for a rabbit will soon be hungry again.
- The Gleft in the Dying Earth RPG supplement Scaum Valley Gazetteer.
- Warhammer 40,000:
- The Dark Eldar inflict pain, misery, and destruction and literally get younger to achieve a degree of eternal life. Haemonculus need to do this in a twisted, creative fashion on a daily basis or they'd wither away. Wyches perform gladiatorial fights on captured prey that the Dark Eldar attend, their faces and skin noticeably younger and healthier when they leave than when they entered.
- The Tyranid Hive Fleets eat entire planets down to the bedrock. Why? Because they need food to not starve, and more biomass to create troops to defend themselves with.
- The Gilbert and Sullivan play Ruddigore (1887). Centuries ago, the first Baronet of Ruddigore persecuted witches. As she was burnt at the stake, one of his victims cursed all future Baronets of Ruddigore to commit a crime every day, or die in agony. Every Baronet of Ruddigore since then has died when he couldn't bring himself to continue a life of crime. Luckily the current Baronet discovers a Curse Escape Clause.
- In Amnesia: The Dark Descent, a large part of the reason the main setting is packed with mutilated corpses is because protagonist Daniel sacrificed people regularly to ward off a formless horror fixated entirely upon killing him, and antagonist Baron Alexander needed a substance derived from the agonising torture of human beings to return to his home. They pooled their efforts.
- Monster Hunter has Deviljho, a monster that is ruthlessly overpowered, and is known for wiping out all local fauna because it is constantly HUNGRY! Other large monster run from this menace, for fear of being eaten. If it runs into the corpse of a monster you killed, it will eat it to regain stamina.
On a lesser level, many quests also come from farmers, traders, or the lake asking you to hunt a monster that's making their livelihoods difficult. Not out of malice, but because it thinks their pack animals or possessions make good eating. None of the monsters are evil, just eking out their own existence.
- Played with in God Eater Burst. God Eaters who come off like this, including the Player Character, making comments during Devour attacks that suggest they feel their symbiotic weapon's desire to keep ripping chunks out of Aragami. While a bit creepy, the God Eaters do have complete control of the ability, downplaying the trope somewhat.
- Carnivores need to eat meat. Some carnivores are scavengers who primarily feed on the dead, but others are predators who have to kill other animals in order to survive.